Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lasnachi Vali Chutney

This post is in remembrance of my grandfather.


This Lasnachi Vali Chutney was his favorite on the days he fasted. He was a Koli to the core. He fasted may be just couple of times a year. On the day of the fast he would be really irritable. He hated vegetarian food. He ate only one meal on such days consisting of steamed rice with our Koli dals (Hirva Masala Moog Dal or Pivli Dal) and a big ball of this chutney. My grandmother who was very good at statistics said, Ajoba needs "Chutney cha gola, Eka kavdhi cha!" A ball of chutney made using half a coconut.

Fasting for Ajoba was always like a punishment. Only when the women folk refused to cook fish for him or may be for Shivaratri.

Among the Kolis not eating non veg is considered fasting. There are no other rules to be followed, I do recollect he visiting the Bhavani Aai temple though. It was considered austere to follow a fast as every Koli's day begins with a breakfast of Chavlachi Roti with kanji (Pochacha Kaanji) and a feast of fishes through out the day.

My grandpa loved his spice and oil floating on his fish curries. Whenever he ate dal, my Dad would comment softly in my ear, "Have you ever seen a tiger eat grass?". Just like his charachter this chutney is strong in aroma from the copious amounts of garlic and the pungency from the red chilies. The coconut is only to give it body. We Kolis don't like our chutneys watered down, it has to be an oblong smooth ball gathered and shaped on the Patta.

At fast breaking time, Ajoba would be served a heap of rice, well cooked yet fluffy. Then he would make a well in the heap. Pour the dal from a steel quarter plate. Mix it little by little, pinch of a little of the Lasnachi Vali chutney and put a huge portion into the mouth. All this using his fingers.
Till he finished no one came between his fast breaking and him.

Ingredients

1/2 coconut grated
5-6 red chilies soaked in water for 5 mins
10 cloves of garlic
salt to taste

Grind with minimum amount of water in a mixer or on the stone grinder. Make a fine paste. Roll up into an oblong shape. Enjoy it with Dal bhaat.

Well let me explain the name before I move on to narate my memories of Ajoba and adventures in Thal, Lasun is garlic you know that one, Vali is wet in Koli so Lasanchi Vali Chutney ofcourse!

My memories of my grandfather are made of funny incidents, of chases around the home in Thal and the barn. One afternoon I climbed the guava tree. Under the tree was kept the hardware stock for our Galbat/ Boat. I was strategic in choosing the time when everyone was at the Bunder, Ajoba was at home and asleep. Suddenly I heard my Mami scream, "Witch come down or you will fall." I was scared not from her yelling, or the height but the fear of grandpa. Thud!!! I got up, collecting myself quickly and ran to save my life. Grandpa was now chasing me around the house with a coconut flower pod. I had tasted the beatings from it once and well knew it hurt bad man! Ran for my life and disappeared on my Moongavrichi Aaji's attic. Only after cuddling behind a Ranjun (The Alibaba kind earthen pot) I realized my bum was sore from the fall. I must have fallen asleep there after all the panting. When I woke up it was evening. I had cobwebs in my hair and black ash from the deposits from the chool on my face. Ajoba was sitting resting against the Tulsi. He saw my avatar and called me to have a bath. I knew him too well. He would first spank me and then hand me over to Mothi Aaji for a bath so I stood far away. Late in the evening as hunger got the better of me, I sneaked into the Vataan (hall). Neelam was fast asleep and Mothi Aaji was petting her. She had got beaten up for being my accomplice. She was not a good sprinter and had got snared by Ajoba. I sneaked an early dinner and cuddled up next to Neelam under the Godhadi (quilt).

Another chase was a shorter one. One May Vacation, my grandfather told us to play near the Hauli (Holi platform). There used to be a lot of Bhendi trees there along the path that lead to the seashore. We would climb on those and sit on the branches and watch the tides. At high tide time we kids were always watched over by elders. That day it got a bit boring. So as my grandpa napped on a mat under a tree, I took my gang to our barn just a few meters down on the seashore. The stable was well stocked with hay. Neat bales all prepared for the rains. The Barn walls just mended with woven coconut palm mats by Ajoba. We played hide n seek there. It was an ideal place for the game. Suddenly from the crack of the door I spotted Ajoba coming towards the barn with a whip in hand. As he charged fiercely towards me, I was about 9 or 10 then. I tunneled through the hay tore through the barn wall. The coconut ribs in the wall scratching and bruising me. The mid afternoon sun shone harshly almost blinding me, yet I raced towards the Malbandar. Grandpa out of breath shaking his fist with a finger pointing at me, warning me, "wait till I get you".

As a child I found it fun and remember it that way. My Dad however remembers only the strict father that rarely showed love. One who managed to discipline his sons so well, inspite of the couple of indulgences that he himself had he is survived by a family that prides itself in being teetotalers and many good habits.

December is my grandpa's anniversary month. He died in the year 1985 on the same tithi as our Shree Brahmachaitanya Maharaj.

Closing this with a qoute Ajoba followed in life "Kisi ka ghenam nai, Kisi ka denam nai". It is a mixed language of his own and means "Never take from anyone, Never be in debt."

RIP Ajoba we follow it strictly.

10 comments:

  1. Very nicely written post. Loved reading the memories abt your grandpa. I remember my grandfather being strict and getting beaten up for my younger sister's faults. Chutney looks spicy & delicious.

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  2. Such a sweet tale.I remember my childhood days with my grandpa fondly too.I had tears in my eyes at the end thinking about my grandpa.Well written.I make my coconut chutneys thick too.

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  3. Such a well-written, nostalgic post Anjali. Loved reading the little anecdotes, and reminded me of the wonderful times I got to spend with both my ajobas as well. You touched my heart ... very wonderful!

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  4. What a lovely recipe and a lovelier tale. Food tastes better when it has such wonderful memories attached I imagine. I grew up around the Konkan coast and the description of this chutney is so reminiscent of food I have tasted long ago.

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  5. loved reading about fond memories,..;-)wish u ahppy new yr 2010....

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  6. What a beautiful tribute to your grandpa.I made your paav again and as always a winning recipe!

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  7. Lovely post Anjali! and the recipe is nice too. I will be making it tonight.

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  8. i just can say u are so sweet and innocent that comes out through ur blog....i just love to read ur memories more than recipes..u make me go in my past by sitting in office...

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  9. You too Pavani!

    Susvaad hugs to you.

    Sheetal thanks for sharing about your ajoba too.

    Mathangi really, you grew up in the kokan, that exciting to know.

    Notyet100 ...hope u had a good one.

    Shankari I need to make those pav now:)

    Mint enjoy it. And lucky you there will be no stink, the cure is in your id.

    Anagha hope to bring you more. Enjoy.

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